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on October 5, 2012
*The Device NOT As Advertised*
The Kindle Paperwhite shown on the Amazon store website has a pure white screen with black text. Any reasonable person preparing to purchase this product would be under the impression that this is what you will receive. There is a comparison image that shows the Kindle Touch as compared to the Paperwhite and the difference in how the screen looks is astounding. The screen on the Touch looks grey and washed out and the screen on the Paperwhite looks bright and white like a piece of paper. These images of the Paperwhite are clearly simulated and not actual pictures of the Paperwhite screen. Kindle customers who purchased a Paperwhite have posted their own pictures of the Paperwhite so you can see the differences for yourself. I did not find out about these differences until my Paperwhite arrived the day after release.

*The Screen*
Screen is still grey like all other eink devices. The blue lights at the bottom of the screen make the screen appear to be a light blueish color, not white. The screen never looks white. This Kindle should not be called the Paperwhite. Maybe Paperbright or Paperblue would be more appropriate. The name alone leads you to believe it has a white screen. While it is somewhat lighter than the Touch it is not white by any stretch of the imagination.

*Page Refresh*
As with the Kindle Touch you have the ability to set the page refresh to occur with every page turn. This is supposed to take care of the ghosting problem associated with eink screens. When the Paperwhite refreshes it flashes the screen quickly from grey to black then back to grey again. This completely redraws the image on the screen. While this was an unobtrusive transition with the Touch it is not with the Paperwhite. The screen flash is so bright because of the light that it is a jarring transition. The result is something that looks like changing a television channel on old tube televisions. A bright flash then the screen change. It all happens very fast but if you are reading in the dark it is obnoxious and distracting. Ghosting does still occur and the effect is actually worse with the light making the image on the screen so obvious. It is a difficult choice to make when you have to choose between living with the ghosting and suffering the screen flashes.

*The Lights*
The text is not black as in the pictures on Amazon but a grey color. The text color becomes lighter as you turn up the light. So, more light means lighter text with less contrast. The lights are visible on the bottom of the unit (some more than others according to other reviews). According to Amazon the Paperwhite has "perfectly balanced whiteness", "exceptional lighting uniformity" and a "perfectly even distribution of light". This is not true. The distribution of the light is mottled and patchy, especially at the bottom of the screen. The bottom ¼ of my screen has patches that are light and dark. Whole screen is lit but it is not lit in a balanced or uniform way as promised. Some people can get past this but for someone that uses their kindle every day in all types of light; this is a huge glaring fault and not at all what was promised by Amazon. The other problem is that you cannot turn the light off. The lowest brightness setting should turn the light off. The lowest brightness setting is too bright for reading in a completely dark room. The intensity of the light at the 2nd to lowest brightness setting should be much dimmer than it currently is.

*Advertisements*
I paid the extra money to purchase a Kindle without advertisements. I believe it is completely worth the extra money. I am appalled to find that if I wish to utilize the cover view on my Kindle that I only have one row of books from my library. The bottom row is filled with "editor's picks". This is advertising. I paid for a Kindle without advertising. You can turn off the editors picks if you disable the Kindle store. Why do I need to disable the store to get rid of the editors picks? This is ridiculous. I should not be forced to see editor picks for books on my home screen.

*Conclusion*
While I think the Paperwhite could be a good device I do not think it is an amazing device. Amazon needs to be more realistic about what they promise. I have spoken to Amazon customer service and they are shipping me a new Kindle for an exchange. I doubt the new one (due to arrive next week) will be any better based on other customer reviews it seems that this is just how the Kindle is. If it arrives and is drastically different (no screen mottling at all and perfectly even light) I will post an update to my review.

I am a multi generation Kindle Owner. In addition to owning a Kindle 2, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle and Kindle Touch I have owned a Sony Ereader, Nook, and a Nook Simple Touch. So with that said I am very comfortable and familiar with ereaders and eink technology I currently own a Kindle Touch. In fact we have 3 of them in our household as we are all avid readers. Not only am I a big fan of Amazon (I am also a Prime member) I am a big fan of the Kindle over all other ereaders. I use my Kindle on average for about 2 hours a day during the week and 3 to 4 hours a day on the weekends. The Kindles in our home are used every single day. I love my Kindle Touch and am very disappointed with the Paperwhite. This is mostly due to the fact that things Amazon promised have not at all been fulfilled. I expected a grey eink screen with my Touch and I got it. I expected a white screen with my Paperwhite and I did not get it, not at all, not even close.

**UPDATE**
Replacement Kindle Paperwhite arrived today and the screen is even worse than the 1st one. The mottling is more pronounced on the replacement Kindle. Returning for a refund. Still so disappointed by this. Amazon customer serive told me that the lighting conditions were normal. Uh, OK, then can you send me the Kindle from the advertisements instead? Because THAT Kindle Paperwhite really is PAPER WHITE.
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on October 2, 2012
Let's face it, an eReader is no more a tablet than it is a paper book. Many reviews here are extremely helpful, but only for determining whether one should buy a Kindle or not in the first place--comparison between the Kindle Paperwhite and older models of Kindle are, at the moment, lacking.

For the past couple of years I have been doing all of my reading on a Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display, and I've had a chance to use a Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers extensively. Comparing the new Kindle Paperwhite to the two previous models, I find the Paperwhite to be a moderate improvement, but also somewhat disappointing.

The Paperwhite is being advertised as having three distinguishing features compared to older Kindles. These are better contrast, better fonts, and a front-lit display which does not cause significant battery issues. Going through each of these features, I will say:

CONTRAST:

The new contrast is a noticeable improvement and, more importantly, optional. In the promotional photographs of the Paperwhite, the background is always a jarring, bleached-paper shade of white. While this high contrast is great for reading in dark rooms, I was worried that it would also cause eye strain to stare at it for long periods.

Luckily, you are not forced to stare at the white screen if you do not want to. If you turn the lighting down significantly, the Paperwhite will have a greyish background that is very similar to that of the old models. Some may consider this a negative, but I personally am quite happy. I've grown very attached to the background of my old Kindle, and being able to switch to it is a big relief!

FONTS:

I don't have much to say about this. There are new fonts and options available, which is always a bonus. You may choose between Baskerville, Caecilia, Caecelia Condensed, Futura, Helvetica, and Palatino.

LIGHTING:

Let's be honest; if you are considering buying a Kindle Paperwhite when you already own a Kindle, this is the reason why. The lighting is front-lit rather than back-lit, which means that you basically have a built in booklight rather than a jarring tablet-like glow. Unfortunately, the lighting is not perfect. There are visible dark smudges at the bottom of my screen, which are extremely distracting and disappointing. I will probably get used to them, eventually, but my heart sank when I realized that the Paperwhite's light is "good enough" rather than simply "good."

Furthermore, Amazon advertises that the Paperwhite will have the same battery life with the light set to 10 as the older models had without a light. I'm sure this is true, however, what they failed to mention was that "10" is not the maximum brightness. The maximum is actually 24, leaving 10 to be a fairly dim setting. 24 is such an odd number that I cannot help but wonder if the scale was skewed simply so that they could advertise the battery life with "10" lighting.

On the other hand, 24 is actually extremely bright, acting almost like a flashlight coming from your Kindle. Even 10 is readable in low light conditions. The light appears to always be on, and 0 provides a faint illumination that can only be seen in a dark room--enough to read by if your eyes have adjusted, but dim enough to not be disruptive to other people.

Overall, I bought the Paperwhite purely for the light, and the light -- despite its drawbacks -- is good enough that I will not be returning it.

Other Thoughts:

I've covered the reasons why a Paperwhite is better than a regular Kindle, but sadly there are also reasons why it is worse. Specifically,

SOUND:

The Paperwhite has no sound whatsoever. That means no text-to-speech, no blind-accessible menu options, no playing your audiobooks from Audible. I am incredibly disappointed that these features have been gutted, presumably done to make room for the larger battery without increasing the size or weight of the model.

SPACE:

The Paperwhite only has 2 gigs of space available rather than the 4 gigs in previous models. I suppose that, with the ability to play audiobooks removed, one does not need very much space. Still, it is a step down, and should be noted as such.

BUTTONS:

The Paperwhite only comes with a touch screen. This means no physical buttons of any kind, including the forward/back buttons that I strongly prefer. If you already have a Kindle Touch, this is not a problem, but if you prefer the older models then you are simply out of luck here.

To the Paperwhite's credit, page navigation with the touch is very easy. Simply tapping anywhere in the right part of the screen will take you forward, and tapping by the leftmost edge will take you back. If you prefer, you can swipe forward or back anywhere on the screen. To navigate your list of books you MUST swipe, as tapping is disabled outside of books.

Overall, I'm giving the Paperwhite 4 stars because it is still an eReader, and eReaders are an amazing step up from paper books or tablets. The light feature, while flawed, is a large qualify of life improvement. Having said all of that, if you currently own a Kindle and are considering upgrading, I would only give the Paperwhite 3 stars because it simply is not that big of an improvement for the price, and the lighting technology is still not yet perfect.
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The Good:

- Fully adjustable light is pretty awesome, even on the lowest settings
- Resolution clearly better than past generation
- Nice size screen, looks attractive, especially in the specially designed case
- Very responsive touch screen that works magnificently
- Screen is very good about not attracting fingerprint smudges
- Faster experimental web browser than past generations

The Bad:

- The light is noticeably blotchy at the bottom. Not a deal breaker, but a good reason to wait for the next generation if you're capable of waiting
- No speakers or audio output or text-to-speech function
- The ads are ugly, it's worth the extra money to get the version without them
- Only 2GB (though that's still a lot, especially with the cloud as a backup)
- Some noticeable "ghosting" effect (images/text faintly visible after turning the page) but so far it hasn't been a major issue for me

OVERALL: The built-in light makes this the best e-reader out there, but in my opinion, the craftsmanship has gone down ever since the Kindle 3. I liked the page turn buttons, the text-to-speech, mp3 capabilities, and overall sturdy feel of the K3. Now that tablets are the rage for more technical use, I don't expect an e-reader to get a real heavy-duty upgrade, but it would be nice if Amazon improved some of the past features and included them here.

Anyway the only two flaws that might be a deal breaker are: The blotchy light at the bottom of the screen and the occasion ghosting. If the light is bright enough you might see text from two pages back still lingering on the screen. That is particularly annoying, although if you turn the light down it becomes less visible.

***Update on "ghosting" issue: Thanks B. H. Smith for reminding me about the "page refresh" option under Home>>Settings>>>Reading Options. I did have it turned off and now that it's on, I find that the issue has been *mostly* resolved--within the text portion, at least. Some pictures and cover art still have an issue with seeing faint lingering words on the screen. Hopefully I'll be able to post a picture soon.
review image
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on October 9, 2012
I have been a huge Kindle fan ever since the beginning when the 1st Kindle cost me $329, and the Kindle Paperwhite is my 4th Kindle. I had the highest expectation for this Kindle, and yet this is also my biggest disappointment. I had all the previous Kindles, so I bought the Paperwhite ONLY for the better screen. But it turned out to be either an immature technology or very poor quality control on the part of Amazon.

When I first turned on my new Kindle and turned up the screen light, I immediately noticed some very conspicuous bright/dark patches at the bottom of the screen. Of course, if the screen light is turned off and if I'm reading from strong reflected sunlight, nothing would show. But when I start to read in a darker environment and I turn on the screen light (only to a level of 5), I begin to notice the dark/bright patches at the bottom. Turning the light above 5 definitely makes it more obvious. When the light is on, there are also bigger patches of faint coloration in the center and upper-left of the screen. This only goes away when the light is turned off and I'm reading under strong ambient lighting. The text on the page is also uneven sometimes, with text in the center of the screen appearing slightly more bold than the ones close to the edges of the screen.

So, uneven dark/bright bands on the bottom of screen, faint screen discoloration, and uneven rendering of text, this must be a defective unit. But my chat with Kindle Support was the real killer. This is part of the chat I had with the representative, it was copied from the actual chat screen and pasted here.

*****

Jawahar:Thank you for confirming.
Please understand that this is a known issue and expected behaviour of the Kindle. However, I'm unable to make any comments on the online forums as we haven't received any.
I will forward your feedback on this to our concerned team so that they will look into this.
Thank you for taking your time and letting us know about this.

Me:I would like to return this unit for a replacement

Jawahar:Please give me a moment while I look into the possibilities for you.
Thank you for waiting.
I checked with the device details and see that the issue you're referring is an expected behavior of the device.
Please don't misunderstand with the Online Forums as they are not officially related with Amazon.

Me:My request is unrelated to any forums
The screen should not have discoloration, should not have uneven rendering of texts

Jawahar:Yes, I understand but as this is an expected behavior of the device, we have no option to replace the device.
If you're still not happy with it, you can return it for a refund as the device is still in return window.

*****

This is really disturbing and appalling. How can the uneven lumination of the screen, discoloration of the screen, and uneven rendering of text be "expected behavior of the device?" This is by far the worst product I've received from Amazon, and the worst technical support I've received from any product manufacturer.
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on October 5, 2012
As a long time Kindle user (3rd gen Keyboard, 4th gen $79, and finally Touch) I greatly looked forward to receiving two Paperwhite's mainly for the whiter background and ability to use in the dark without the light up cases.

On October 2nd I received my two Paperwhites and right off the bat I had an issue. One of them had a beautiful evenly lit screen that was very white (except for the bottom 1/8th of an inch which will always show some shadowing/spotlighting from the LEDs being located so close.) The other looked very different. The light, even when on max, was much dimmer looking and the "whites" of the screen showed a pinkish dingy hue. Looking at the unit by itself it was "ok", not great but "ok." Put side by side with the other though and it looked really bad.

Sooo... I called Amazon.com and they offered an exchange but said it could take 2-4 weeks which I was disappointed by since it was a new product but at least I could use the faulty unit in the meanwhile. To my happy suprise Amazon.com let me know that they were shipping my replacement only two days later and had upgraded me FOR FREE to the 3G model with NO ADS since my unit would not be available for a long time. During those two days I used my unit and frankly grew more happy with it as it still is a huge improvement over the Touch and in actual room lighting environments with the LEDs also on the screen looked whiter than I remembered it looking. I thought the LEDs might actually be breaking in and improving but when I again compared it to my wife's Paperwhite it was still very inferior.

Today I received the generous 3G, NO AD replacement. Sadly the screen is EVEN DIMMER and although less pink it has a sickly greenish hue. The screen also had 3 pieces of dust underneath the touch layer that the front lights shine on and cause the dust bits to twinkle like a bright white dot that is very distracting when reading.

I have decided to simply return my "replacement" Kindle and keep my Wi-Fi only Kindle. The screen is a nice improvement over both the Kindle Touch (huge improvement) and Nook Glowlight (still a nicer color and blend of light.) What IS true is there is obviously quality control issues with this new Kindle and a wide variation in evenness, color, and brightness of light between various Paperwhites. Perhaps if you only buy one you will never be the wiser but side by side the differences can be profound and disappointing.

The new capacitive touch layer, soft touch body coating coating, front light, improved UI and thinner body make this is an obvious upgrade over the Kindle Touch just don't expect the screen to be as smooth and white as the pictures on Amazon suggest and whatever you do, don't put two of these things next to each other unless you want to chance feeling bad about your luck of the draw.

First world problems don't ya know?
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VINE VOICEon October 2, 2012
IMPORTANT NEWS FROM AMAZON: Since this review and updates were written, Amazon has updated the Paperwhite product page with a new section called "We want you to know..." You have to click through to find out what it is they want to tell you and show you. Mainly, it's that the lighting on the screen is NOT even under "certain lighting conditions," especially in a darkened room, where you will most want to use Paperwhite illumination. The Amazon photo gives you a good look at the shadow issues and the bluish color cast to the screen in a dark room. This isn't defective, it's "normal," per Amazon, so I doubt they will ship replacement units for these issues any longer, although a return for refund is fine, I'm sure, if you're dissatisfied. Many may feel that the uneven lighting is not a problem, which is a matter of personal taste--but it's unfortunate that the photos Amazon has been using (and continues to use) of Paperwhite illumination in a darkened room look very different from the reality of what Amazon now "wants you to know" about the lighting. In the interest of fairness to its customers, I believe Amazon should pull all Paperwhite product photos that show a perfectly illuminated and white screen in dark lighting conditions, because that's just not how it really looks.

ORIGINAL REVIEW AND UPDATES:
This will be a fairly brief review, considering that the Paperwhite's whole reason for existing can be stated in a single word: lighting. So one would think... and one would hope... that Amazon would absolutely nail it. The pre-production units that the press "sampled," certainly suggested that they did. The unanimous acclaim and superlatives for the lighting and screen quality left no doubt that Amazon had hit this one out of the park. Well... I'd like me one of THOSE units, because that's not how I'd describe the Paperwhite I received today.

Simply put, the lighting is okay, not great. After all the raves about how invisible the LED light sources were, it was disappointing to spot them immediately out of the box at the bottom of screen. And then, as others have noted, the lower screen is also marred by shadowy areas between the LEDs that might be described as smudges or banding. This was definitely NOT the beautifully even glow of light across the screen that Amazon product photos have shown and which I was expecting. I'm also not sold on improved readability of the new screen vs. my Kindle Touch. It is certainly a different reading experience--I'm just not sure that it's better, at least for me.

My two star rating might seem somewhat harsh, but Amazon had just one feature that it needed to get REALLY right on the Kindle Paperwhite, and they missed the mark. I'm planning to return mine and keep my Kindle Touch.

UPDATE: I would invite you to read the comments below this review, as person after person checks in with the same issues. In fact, scan all the 1-3 star reviews... and even a few of the 4s... it's pretty much the same story. The only variable seems to be the level of disappointment. The unanswered question is whether these problem Paperwhites are the result of a bad production run... or if this is really the level of quality we can expect? For the time being, I trust that Amazon is reading these reviews, seeing that they have a problem and will do what needs to be done to make it right with their loyal customers.

UPDATE #2: This will be very helpful: there's a YouTube review of the Paperwhite that gives you a good look at the problems at the lower part of the screen. Check out the 20 seconds in the review from 1:10 to 1:30 where the reviewer demos the issue and discusses it. I think it looks somewhat worse when you're actually holding the Paperwhite than it does on video. But this should still give you a pretty good idea of whether this screen issue is going to be a problem for YOU. youtube DOT COM/watch?v=u-SEYSHSVKc

UPDATE #3: Sincere KUDOS and thanks to Amazon Customer Service for their handling of a replacement unit. It will be a while before it arrives (which is fine) and I'll report back here once I have it.

UPDATE #4: So much has been written and said about this issue since I wrote the original review. For those who might be interested, I've posted a short summary of what is "known" at present in comment #71 below.

FINAL UPDATE: I received a replacement PW, which I compared directly against my first unit. The screens were VERY similar--within what I'd consider an acceptable level of variation during a production run--though the shadow issue was actually "a bit" worse on the replacement. The splotchiness was more noticeable, and extended upward into the bottom three lines of text on the lower screen. (And this is with line spacing at its widest setting.) So... I'd say the shadow issue is simply the reality of this technology at present and isn't going to be corrected. Only YOU can decide if it's an issue for YOU... check out the link I've posted above or other video reviews and photos online that do a pretty good job of showing you what to expect.

Thanks for taking the time to read my review, and I hope you found it helpful in making a purchase decision.
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on October 12, 2012
Review updated February 13, 2013

After spending four months with the device, I have decided it's time to adjust my review. At the outset, I gave this device a single star because of the frustrating issues I experienced. Every Kindle Paperwhite I sent to me had shadowy blotches of color throughout much of the screen, which didn't meet my expectations from the screen and caused significant eyestrain. I got 3 replacement devices in an attempt to get a better device, but each had problems worse than the last (all had colored blotches, 2/3 had dust specks leaving bright pinhole light spots on the screen, and 2/3 had lower left edge brightness issues). I ended up keeping my original device. I let the review stand because of the bad taste the experience left in my mouth. I know others have gotten good devices, and it rankled that I'd had 4 devices and none of them were what I'd consider good enough - but the return merry-go-round had gotten too frustrating to deal with.

I've adjusted the rating up to 4 stars because my experience with the device itself (ignoring the flawed screen, which does still bother me under certain conditions) has been very positive. I debated taking off another star for the hassle, but I think this is the right decision. I'll leave my original review at the bottom... so let's talk about what I enjoy about the device!

I switched over from a Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light. Before that I had a Nook Simple Touch, and before that a Nook Color. I switched to e-ink for the reduced eyestrain, great battery life, and daylight reading. I switched to a lighted e-ink reader to retain these benefits and easily read at night before bed, which is when I get a lot of my reading done. I feel that the Paperwhite offers many distinct advantages over my previous e-ink readers:

LIGHT: The light allows me to read in any lighting situation. With the NSTWGL, I had to decide what the threshold to turn the light on/off would be and exactly how high it needed to be. The Paperwhite's always-on light design eliminates awkward do-I-or-don't-I lighting situations. Just adjust the brightness and you're good to go. The lack of a large band of light at the top (as with the NSTWGL) is great, and the light feels like it is much more evenly distributed and a more neutral non-blue color.

SCREEN: The higher screen resolution and capacitive touch screen offer a superior experience. Images and small fonts look crisp and clear, and the capacitive screen is more responsive and allows me to use one of those waterproof tablet bags for bathtub reading.

UI: The time to read feature has become an integral part of my reading experience. As I am person who likes to stop reading on chapter ends, I can now easily tell if I have enough time to finish the chapter during my break or before I sleep. The dictionary feature is simpler to use and is superior to the Nook's. Although a recent firmware update has closed the gap, I still like the Kindle's options better. Highlighting is also better. I also like collections, which allow me to sort by genres, series, challenges, etc. It's a nice touch. On the whole, Kindle's user interface feels much more elegant and attractive.

SYSTEM: Despite the hassle of switching e-book ecosystems, I have found Amazon to be superior. With the cloud and being able to e-mail or "send to Kindle" it is much more convenient to use the device. Being able to delete documents from the device without hooking up to the computer is a no-brainer, and something I'm still surprised was missing from my Nooks. With the Nook I had to hook up to a computer any time I wanted to add or delete a file.

OTHER: The autowake feature is really nice if you have a no special offers device and a cover that has the feature. If you're willing to tinker, there are several nice benefits the Kindle developer community offers over the Nook's (which was basically root to a non-customized Android or nothing).

Really, about the only thing I miss from my Nook devices is the way they handled PDFs. They flowed the text out so you could change the font size and read instead of having to always pan/zoom.

In short, this is a 5 star device if you can get your hands on a good one. If you're afraid you'll have bad luck and you won't, Amazon's customer service is actually quite easy to deal with, so you can get a replacement/return if it doesn't work for you.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Original review from October 12, 2012:

As soon as it was announced, I was extremely excited for the Paperwhite. Once I saw the reveal on the tech blogs, the demos, the pictures... I knew I wanted to trade my Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight for it, even with the large hassle that comes with switching e-reader ecosystems. A screen with higher resolution, even lighting, capacitive touch? Sign me up! I preordered the first day.

When I first received my unit, I thought it was much better. It looked impressive, more evenly lit and more responsive than my Nook. And I absolutely loved that I could send things straight to my Kindle via Wi-fi. Then I got to the heart of the matter, the reason I have bought two e-ink readers with a light: reading my books in bed at night.

At first, I thought I was going crazy. But the more I looked, the worse it seemed. Then I saw pictures of people with similar problems. See, I'm not giving a 1 star review because of the shadows caused by the LED lights at the bottom. I expect that, and I understand it. I understood it well before Amazon felt the need to clarify it.

My problem is that my screen is about 5 different colors. There are shadowy blotches that range from various shades of pink to green to blue that are really quite annoying to look at and produce eyestrain when read around for too long. Nothing I can do helps it, other than turning the light off, which isn't a solution for me. Yes, I've held on to my unit for several days (I got it 10 days ago). Yes, I've set the refresh to be every page. Yes, I've reset it, etc. etc.

Now here's the rub. I attempted to get a replacement. It had the same problem -- more unsightly color blobs and some lovely bright dots (reminiscent of dead pixels on an LCD screen) that were beyond distracting once seen. It also had a line of extreme brightness at the lower left edge of the screen. So I got another replacement today. It arrived with more color blobs, even worse than the previous two. Another "dead pixel". Same lower left edge brightness issue.

I want to love the Paperwhite. I really do. I like it better than my NSTWGL and I'm not interested in a Kobo Glo. I don't expect that the screen be true white. All I want is a screen that is one color, and it is seeming like that is unattainable. I really don't know what to do at this point, because I've already gotten rid of my Nook Glow. The bottom line is that I cannot recommend this product. It seems that the quality control on the units is very poor to have 3/3 units with this defect (and others) shipped to me.

EDITED TO ADD: I don't want to give the impression that I dislike the device. If I could get a screen that didn't have these color blotches and "dead pixel" bright spots that have plagued my experience thusfar, the device would be 5 stars in my book.
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on October 10, 2012
The screen on my first Kindle Paperwhite was terrible. It had a dark blue green hue with large areas of shadows and blotches and blobs of green and pink. The text did not render consistently as some looked bold and some letters looked washed out. I could not read on it because it was so bad. I got a replacement sent to me and at fist it was much better. But after a few days the screen has become shadowy and blotchy much like the first one did. It is slightly better, but not by much. Judging from all the negative posts I've seen on some forums, there are large numbers of the Kindle Paperwhite being returned due to screen defects. I think Amazon's quality control on the Kindle Paperwhite is really bad.

I will say that I've owned seven Kindles prior to the Kindle Paperwhite and this is the first time I've seen problems like this. Kindle Customer Service has been really nice, but too many units seem to be bad. I cannot recommend this product.

EDITED on October 18: I got a second replacement and unfortunately the screen on it was just as bad as the others. I returned all three units to Amazon and decided to wait until the next generation of Paperwhites is introduced. This first generation is obviously flawed. The firmware and design is really good, but the screen is virtually unusable.
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on October 5, 2012
I have read a lot of negative reviews regarding the light on the paperwhite so I made a video comparing it to the last kindle to show the vast improvement.
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on October 1, 2012
I was lucky enough to have been invited to be in the "What Kindle Owners Think" video and I was able to get a sneak peak at the product and got to use it for about an hour. I am the guy in the pink shirt. Ever since then, I have been itching to tell people about this device. It is simply amazing.

UPDATE:
I have since gotten my own Kindle Paperwhite and have updated my review with any new insight.

HARDWARE:
From the minute you pick it up you can tell that this is a device that has gone through a lot of revisions to get to this stage. It feel incredibly solid and comfortable in the hands. The entire back has a rubberized plastic coating so it feels very grippy and makes it easy to hold in just one hand. I have had no issues with the smaller bezel, I am still able to comfortably hold it with one hand. The device itself is a bit smaller which makes it easier to hold and carry around. I really liked that the screen is far less indented into the device than the previous model, it makes the reading experience a whole lot better. The screen has a new type of coating on it that gives it a more tactile feel. It feels incredibly similar to the way a page feels in a book. I was planning on putting a screen protector on, but now I am second guessing it because I do not want to lose the tactile feel. You really have to feel it to believe it. There is now no more home button, the only button on the device is the on/off button on the bottom. In place of the home button there is now a Kindle logo on the bottom bezel. To go home you press on the top of the display and click the home icon. This seems fine with me since on a pure reading device you do not need to go to the homescreen very often. The battery-life on this thing is stellar. 2 months of reading on one charge with the light set to half, are you serious, that's amazing. That is as good as the previous Kindle Touch model, which is really impressive considering the Paperwhite is lighter, thinner, and has a light. That is a really big plus for me, because I do not want to be charging my device often, I like to do it after I have finished a book, I am a slow reader. The color choice was a really good call. The black Kindle looks amazing and after reading it for a bit the device just disappears as you sink into your reading. This is exactly what a device like this should do, it shouldn't get in the way of the experience, but almost become unnoticed as it brings forth your content.

SCREEN:
Let's talk about the screen. Obviously this is the biggest and best change that they made. The illumination looks fantastic on it, it is a very even light and does not strain the eyes at all. It is without a doubt the best lit e-ink display (I have yet to see the Kobo lit screen, so exclude that). It is far better than the Nook with Glowlight and better than any booklight or reading lamp, bar none. With the contrast of the black border, it really makes the text pop. No matter what angle you look at it, the text is crisp and you can't really find where the light is coming from. I have since heard that if you look really hard you can see the light from the bottom of the screen, but I did not notice when I got to use it. With my Kindle I can only see the lights if I have the Kindle flat and parallel to my eyes and look from the top of the device down at the bottom border. I personally never read my books in this upside down way, so it never really bothers me. Since it is a front-lit device, it makes it really easy to read. It doesn't reflect much light away from the Kindle so it's an easy reading experience, very similar to having a good lamp right behind your head only shining on the page. The light is controlled by a clicking in the menu and dragging the dimmer up and down. There is really a lot of control you have over how bright the light is, I think I remember around 25 levels. Overall the light looks a lot better then the Nook GlowLight that I have seen, its a stark difference. I don't know if its the light or the new screen, but the contrast on the thing is amazing. The pages are truly white and the text is very black, unlike the old Kindle's newspaper-esque coloring. The resolution of the screen has improved a great deal. The fonts look a lot smoother on this device than they did on the previous Kindle. The screen now is capacitive touch instead of using infrared technology. The only difference this makes to me is that ordinary objects like my blanket or cover no longer trigger page turns, so that's a big plus for me. From what I could tell the new capacitive screen did not make the text look any worse.

SOFTWARE
One huge improvement that I am really going to appreciate is how much faster this Kindle is at turning on and flipping pages. It is really stunning to see how fast it can turn on. I remember with the previous Kindle it would take a good second or two to turn on, which was very noticeable. With this one its on a whole lot faster, to the point where you don't notice the annoying lag. My jaw actually dropped when they showed me how fast it turns on, so happy that they worked to improve this. The software has also improved a good deal. My favorite addition is the 'time to read' feature. It sits in the bottom left corner of the screen and tells you how long it will take you to finish the chapter or the book. It calculates this based on your historical reading speed so it is constantly getting better. You can click the bottom left corner to switch from 'time to finish the chapter', 'time to finish the book', or 'percentage read'. Now you also have a lot more choices as to what fonts you want and you can even change the margin and line spacing sizes. You can really customize the device to be just how you like your reading. I personally really liked the Helvetica font. The homescreen is also a whole lot better now. They now show you covers of your books and the books available to buy, this gives it a much better look compared to the previous list style homescreen. Along the bottom they now show you recommended books from Amazon based on your reading history, its a nice touch to explore some new reading. There have been a few more small changes made to the software that I have noticed while using the device more. Now, when you wake your Kindle from sleep you have to push the power button and then swipe the bottom of the screen to the right. This adds a nice layer of protection from your Kindle accidentally being turned on in your bag or purse. I noticed that Amazon has also removed the ability to swipe up or down to skip to the previous or next chapter. I would rarely use this feature on my Kindle Touch to skip through the book faster to find my place, but most often it accidentally went off while trying to swipe to the next page, so I am not sad that the feature is gone. One disappointing thing they have done is made it a lot more difficult to turn the wifi on and off. You now have to go to the homescreen, hit menu, hit settings, and turn the airplane mode on. This is kind of confusing and too cumbersome. This is not a deal breaker though because I mostly read with my wifi off and will only turn it on between books to sync my content.

CONS
Two minor annoyances are that they took away the audio functionality, I however never used it before so its no big lose to me. There are no more speakers or headphone jack, so if that's something you really liked and used a lot then it will be a bit of a disappointment. This means you cannot do speech-to-text or listen to audiobooks on the device. They also have not improved the on/off button. I always got annoyed that it stuck out the bottom of the device. I sometimes hit it with my finger or while it was packed away in my bags and this would turn the device on or off, which was just a bit frustrating. I was hoping they would have changed this in the new model, but they haven't. They also shrunk the storage space by half, but that does not seem to be an issue for me since you won't put any music on it anymore. That's still around 1000 books you can store on the device. Its more then enough for me and plus Amazon stores all your Amazon content for free on their servers.

All in all this is an amazing device. I was so excited to see it so early and have had such a pleasure using my own Kindle Paperwhite. I highly recommend this reader. I think it is the best lit touch screen e-reader on the market. Aside from a color display there is nothing more I want in an ebook reader. I think I am gonna have this device for a long long time, because it is almost perfect for me and there is not much more that I want in it.
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